A Look at Fibria’s 2017 Report
To readers, there is no doubt that Fibria’s 2017 Report portrays a journey. Not only of the past year and the most recent fiscal periods, but also of the consolidation of a management system that seeks, on a daily basis, to be more and more in tune with the profound transition of our production and consumption methods. This is clear not only in its compliance with the principles of good reporting, such as materiality, clarity, and comparability, but also in how it addresses social and environmental aspects, ranging from compliance with regulations to the strategic choice of business models that embrace the challenges of sustainability as actual opportunities to create value for the company, its stakeholders, and society in general.
Recognized nationally and internationally for its size, strategic outlook, and operational excellence, Fibria has demonstrated a significant ability to use its current commodity-based business platform, which is pulp, not only to consolidate its license to operate, but also to go beyond, creating products and markets for the new economy.
Regarding the license to operate, which is ultimately assigned by the company’s stakeholders, in 2017, Fibria carried out several initiatives that caught my attention. These included:
- the start-up of the second production line at the unit in Três Lagoas (Mato Grosso do Sul state), whose project and execution, even with 8,700 employees during the peak of the project, adopted noteworthy practices in managing the impacts that large projects normally cause in the regions where they are implemented;
- the launch of We are Fibria, which translates into a movement marking the evolution of the company’s corporate culture, expressed in an inspiration and a purpose that are both daring and inspiring;
- the launch of its position statement on Diversity, which is accompanied by a set of actions aimed toward recognizing and valuing differences in gender, race, sexual orientation, and disability;
- the launch of the Sustainable Procurement Program, which was conceived with the participation of supplier representatives and seeks to contribute to the Company’s Procurement area being recognized by the market and stakeholders as an innovative area that induces economic, social, and environmental value in the value chain; and
- the company’s first green bond issue, USD 700 million in green bonds, which will be used to finance investments related to clean and renewable energy and to reduce emissions of contaminants and consumption of water, energy, and raw materials.
Perhaps inspired by the idea of creative destruction, a term coined by economist Joseph Schumpeter regarding replacing outdated models with other more innovative arrangements, in its 2017 report, Fibria presents some initiatives that point to new products and markets and deserve to be hailed with enthusiasm. The first initiative refers to developing solutions and products in the field of biotechnology, based on the experience acquired through management and exploitation of planted forests. Navigating among renewable fuels from biomass and revolutionary biomaterials, Fibria’s corporate venturing and open innovation actions are undoubtedly paving the way for a portfolio compatible with a low-carbon economy. The second initiative of this nature that I would like to highlight is the pilot project for valuating externalities, which explores one of the knowledge frontiers on sustainability, which is the measurement and valuation of aspects related to natural capital and ecosystem services, core elements for the operation and continuity of a company that is intimately connected to the inventory of natural resource and the flows of nature. Finally, I would like to point out the efforts undertaken, on several national and international multi-stakeholder forums, to create a business-friendly institutional environment aligned with the quest for effectively sustainable development.
Looking ahead, I would like to highlight three elements that I hope and expect to see covered in future reports. One is the greater connection and contextualization of Fibria’s performance indicators with respect to the reality of the regions, countries, and societies where it operates. Much like what we have begun to see regarding water resources, in terms of the watersheds where the company has operations. This would undoubtedly further differentiate the interesting Indicators Center that have been part of the company’s reports for several years.
Another element I would like to see included is a broader and more detailed account of the portfolio diversification process based on innovations in the field of biotechnology. This would not only inspire other companies, but it may also point the way for a country like Brazil, where biodiversity is a passport to the future. The last element I would like to see is that I believe companies such as Fibria should boldly build new metrics that, in fact, contribute to incorporating natural capital into economic-financial decisions. If for the companies from the old economy this will mean substantial loss of value or even cost them their survival, for those that are creatively destroying themselves, it will certainly mean a transition to an economy that takes into account people and the ability to support the planet.